As of yesterday, January 1, 2018, California officially became a ‘sanctuary state.’ The new status essentially means that local law enforcement officials will limit how much they need to cooperate with federal immigration authorities.
President Trump has tried to stop allowing sanctuary cities-through the power of the purse. His executive order tried to prevent federal grants to cities that harbored undocumented immigrants. However, a judge has ruled the executive order unconstitutional-control of the funds has already been approved by congress; therefore to amend it must also be through congress.
California governor Jerry Brown signed the law in October and set it to go in effect January 2018. The law bans police from assisting federal immigration enforcement and also bans officers from asking people about their immigration status.
“These are uncertain times for undocumented Californians and their families, and this bill strikes a balance that will protect public safety, while bringing a measure of comfort to those families who are now living in fear every day,” Governor Brown remarked.
To date, five States have enacted laws that limit the cooperation of police with federal immigration authorities, otherwise known as sanctuary cities/states. The five are California, Oregon, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Vermont.
The power to enact laws to protect unlawful immigrants may even lie in the hands of counties, not just cities and States.
“We are not going to sacrifice a half-million people who live amongst us, who are part of our communities, whose family members and loved ones happen to be people in many cases who are either permanent residents or citizens,” said New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions strongly criticized these cities that oftentimes provide a haven for repeat drug offenders, and even murderers. When he spoke to a room full of federal prosecutors he asked them to “reconsider the harm they are doing to their residents.” After all, the United States must first affirm the protection and safety of its own citizens.